Dying is hard work, challenging on all levels, for all involved...
And yet it is also an experience unlike any other...
Filled with blessings...
Offering life-changing opportunities for all involved. - Denys Cope
What is an End of Life Doula?
We are trained professionals who have a calling to support and walk alongside people who are facing the end of their lives, along with their families and loved ones. We are a consistent, steady, calm and flexible presence. We are able to do what is needed, and of course, this would be different for each family. We are good listeners, we have lots of helpful information available to us and we know a lot about the dying time. Essentially, we are people, who have a heart for this work and that means we can help you navigate this difficult time.
Because we work in an open-hearted, person centered way Doulas strive to create an atmosphere of loving support, kindness, respect, dignity and normality for all concerned. We aim to help people feel safer and more at peace with death and dying, giving guidance, confidence and support in any way that is needed. Having a Doula walk alongside you makes it more possible to stay at home, but we also can support families in nursing homes and hospitals and ITU – it is all about what you decide is right for you and your loved ones. The most precious gift a Doula can offer is time. Time to talk, to ask questions, time to think things through, time to make plans, time for practicalities as well as quiet time too.
How can a Doula help?
What can I offer as a Doula? This is not an exhaustive list, rather a guide!
A chance to talk about whatever’s on your mind
Myself, as a stable, calm, comforting, warm presence
To encourage you to live as fully as you can, to the end of your life
Demystify the process of dying to reduce anxiety
Talk to those you love (including children) about dying and helping you do that too
Listen when painful and difficult feelings arise
Help you come to terms with dying and loss
Explore your spiritual beliefs and spiritual aspects of dying and their importance to you
Help you think about what really matters to you now and how to achieve this
Time for reminiscing
I can be a mentor or advocate with other health professionals if you want to get your voice heard
Share my knowledge of what is out there to help and support you
Be practical and walk the dog, do some housework, prepare a meal or make a cup of tea
Gentle touch (mellower than massage) to sooth and calm
Create a system by which you can share news once, rather than many times
Help organise ‘time off’ for those who are in a caring role
Help organise a visiting schedule
Help you re-connect with old friends
Encourage family and friends to be involved as much or (as little), as you want
Offer knowledge of what is available ‘out there’ to help provide support to you all
Encourage you to use your own community of friends to help where possible e.g. shopping and meals
Sit and vigil with, or for the family if you wish, at the dying time.
Exploring Advance Planning, decisions and options to give you peace of mind:
End of life plan, Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney, Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment (ADRT), Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR), organ and tissue donation, funeral planning, your last wishes or making a bucket list.
What happens next?
Sometimes people call us at the time of their diagnosis. Sometimes they or their family call us at the later stages of an illness, or sometimes even at the dying time. It all starts with a phone call and a chat. When you pick up the phone, you do not have to know what you want from me, that is not important. What is important, is when you talk to me, you go with your gut as to whether you think I am someone you would want to meet and work with. Each family has a very different story, experience and set of needs, we will work it out together.
If you want to take things forward then I suggest we meet and take it from there. Use my Contact Page to get in touch. The sort of support you want and need for you, and your loved ones, is something we will create together as we move forward. Things can change quite quickly when people are at the end of their lives and as a Doula I am prepared to be flexible.
You can contact me directly via this website, call me personally or contact me through Living Well Dying Well, the organisation which trains Doulas in the Britain, especially if you feel more comfortable to check my references before approaching me. I do charge for my work as a Doula, and this is something we can discuss at our first call.
Would You Like To Meet?
I prefer to be contacted by: